Filmed February 7, 2017: Long Long Ago, Ode to Joy
After the upper half of the bow becomes manageable, it is time to learn how to play in the lower half of the bow. Playing in the lower half is much more cumbersome than the upper half because the bow itself is much heavier due to the hardware of the frog. Additionally, the technique for playing in the lower half requires engaging the complete opposite set of arm and hand muscles than is used for the upper half. In the lower half, it is mainly the upper arm that moves the bow (instead of the forearm), and the pinky and ring finger balance the bow. So in order to play from the frog to the tip of the bow, an energy transfer occurs from the upper arm and little fingers through to the forearm and big fingers and then the process is reversed back going from the tip to the frog. This must happen on every bow stroke to produce a beautiful tone. This transfer takes an extraordinary kinesthetic quickness and awareness and can take years to perfect. Without the transfer of energy, the sound will be tight in the lower half. So a lot of young students avoid playing near the frog because it's uncomfortable and they haven't quite got the hang of balancing the bow with the pinky. You can see on this video that Rafi's fingers on the bow during Long Long Ago go out of position. This must be frequently guided back to a more comfortable bow hold.
What's also new is we switch to the advanced bow hold in order to use the lower half of the bow. So now Rafi's thumb is on the stick of the bow, not the metal piece under the frog (beginner bow hold).
Ode to Joy is one of Rafi's favorite songs and we enjoy very much playing a violin duet!